Naturally, Mac adores him.
Fortunately, Chris had a decent amount of time away from the office over the holidays and he shouldered some of the tasks I typically perform on a regular basis, sharing diaper and clothing changes, making Mac (and sometimes me) breakfast, amusing Mac during the day. You know. . .the usual stuff. . .
After a few days of watching all the Father-Son cuteness, it occurred to me, all was not as it should be. Something was making me feel uneasy. Yet, I couldn’t put my finger on what it was?
Last evening, Mac took a little spill in the kitchen. This happens at least 12 times a day. He trips or tries some crazy new skill that causes him to lose his balance and he has a little fall. But this time, he didn’t just brush it off and get up. Instead, he stayed on the floor, looked to see if Chris was looking at him, and promptly began wailing. Of course, Chris swooped in, picked him up immediately and started the whole, “Are you okay, little Smootchie Bear?” routine.
Well, that’s a new one, I thought to myself. Typically, if Mac’s busy and engrossed in something, he really doesn’t want any sort of intervention from me. In fact, I’m pretty sure if the kid suffered a concussion in my presence, he’d likely just shake it off and resume whatever activity it was that resulted in the injury in the first place.
While I cleaned up dinner, Chris gave Mac his bath. While I was alone, I started thinking back one the past few days. . .
Mac ALWAYS puts up a fuss when Chris attempts to place him in the stroller, high chair or car seat. Sometimes he just pretends to protest. Sometimes he actually protests. That doesn’t typically happen on Mommy’s watch.
Mac is ALWAYS imploring Daddy to pick him up and carry him around the house. . .and Chris always happily obliges. Mac seldom ever wants me to pick him up especially when we are in the house.
When Daddy’s here, Mac almost NEVER independently plays with his toys. He’s always attempting to engage Chris. Usually when it’s just Mac and me, I can get him to play independently for short blocks of time here and there throughout the day.
Chris showed Mac how to operate the Keurig. Naturally, Mac is continually requesting he and Daddy make “Coff.” Mac never wants to Mac “coff” with Mom.
Yep. Daddy’s getting played. Hard.
And the more I thought about it, the more I realized there is a generally increased level of drama when Daddy’s around. There’s always a chase required to get a fresh diaper or shirt on the kid. Mac doesn’t eat as well. . .unless Daddy sits beside the high chair and helps feed him. Mac flips out if Chris leaves his sight. He’s not quite as willing to take naps or go to bed. . .
I’m convinced it’s all Daddy-related drama.
I find this problematic on several levels:
Obviously, it’s annoying and time-consuming. We shouldn’t have to bribe the kid to get him in his car seat or chase him to get him dressed. Chris shouldn’t have to carry the kid around the house on demand.
Are we establishing a situation where the kid figures out he can manipulate Daddy and play the two of us against one another in the future?
And perhaps most disturbing. . .Is Daddy already becoming the “fun one”? Am I destined to be like my OWN Mother? Who used to go around proclaiming with alarming frequency something to the effect of “I always have to be the bad guy. I realize your Father is wonderful and I’m the mean one!”
Troubling indeed. I thought maybe Chris and I needed to discuss the situation after we put Mac to bed last night.
Before bed, we sat down with Mac to read him stories. Chris was up first with Fox in Socks. He opened the book, which Mac promptly grabbed, handed to me and plopped right down in my lap.
As I looked at Chris’ stunned expression, I realized we had nothing at all to discuss. . .
Getting played by a toddler ain’t so bad. . .